Wednesday, June 10, 2009

How to Save $356.14* at Williams-Sonoma

I love getting Williams-Sonoma catalogs. I sign up for them online every few months, and I fill out a little card whenever I'm in the store. I order things online. I request catalogs whenever I'm doing business with their partner stores, Pottery Barn and Williams-Sonoma Home. I get those catalogs, but I almost never get the one I want, the Catalog for Cooks. My neighbors get the big, thick one like clockwork, once a month; I get the skinny version maybe once a year, despite all my hard work.

Maybe they feel I don't make the grade as a cook so they don't want serious customers seeing me wandering the streets engrossed in their recipes. Or maybe they know how I feel about some of their products.

Anyway, I got the skimpy little 52-page catalog yesterday, while my neighbor got the nice fat one.

I covet plenty of their stuff. Gorgeous Ruffoni copper, for example (which I found at a bargain price on eBay). Or that Ebelskiver Filled Pancake Pan, to make adorable little Nutella bombs.


But with our tiny kitchen, I can't store almost any of it. A tiny kitchen makes you read product copy with wary cynicism. And many Williams-Sonoma "exclusives" make me roll my eyes and wonder what kind of dummy would buy such silly "specialty" contraptions.

When you see "exclusive" used for a W-S product, think: "I can probably use my hands instead of this."

Because I only have the loser edition of the catalog, I don't have the full range of W-S insanity at my fingertips, but here's a sampling of what they believe that even loser customers like me really need. And I calculated how much you will save by not falling for it.

1. Nonstick burger press. Pressing burgers squeezes the air (and juiciness) out of them. Do you really want your burgers to look as uniformly perfect as the ones at McDonald's? Besides, hamburger is even more fun to mold in your hands than Play-Doh (which wasn't edible in my day). You save $19.95.

2. Avocado pitter/slicer. Try a knife, a teaspoon, maybe a fingernail. More room in your utensil drawer and you save $15.

3. Electric vacuum marinator. This monstrosity takes up as much counter space as a toaster oven and claims it "marinates foods in minutes, not hours or days." By thinking ahead and marinating fresh meat as soon as you bring it home, you can save $199.95.
4. Breakfast scones. Do you know how idiotically easy and fast it is to make scones from scratch? Think about it: the English can handle it. Yes, I admit that I burned my last batch because I accidentally turned off the oven timer with my hip, but I'll bet you are smarter than me. You need just a few ingredients, and if you don't have them, you can substitute. I made my own "self-rising flour" with salt and baking powder, for example. If you don't have milk, use yogurt. Or vice versa. It's difficult to screw up scones, so why spend $46 to get 18 frozen ones (plus $10.50 shipping)? You can feed armies with your own scones for that amount, or splurge on a fancy tea at the Bristol Lounge at the Four Seasons.

5. Monogrammed steak brand. If you worry that your steak could wander off the grill and go roaming in the neighbor's yard, provoking a 21st-century cattle war, you need more help than Williams-Sonoma or I can offer you. Make sure your cow is dead before you put it on the grill and save yourself $39.95.


* I figured shipping at 11% of the total amount for orders over $150.01, according to the W-S site.

1 comment:

  1. I'm pretty sure I need a monogrammed steak thinger. I don't have a grill. Or steak. But in case I have both of those one day, I'm going to make sure it's got my initials on it.

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